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Successful Car Rental Negotiation

corporate travel negotiation

While the options around car rental negotiations seem somewhat endless, a sound corporate preferred car rental program is heavily dependent on a company’s profile. If the client is a U.S based company operating domestically in a handful of states, the value of negotiating a “brand-wide” discount can become diluted or hard to achieve.  While more labor intensive, a small to mid-market client may want to explore car rental negotiations city by city with a focus on more highly-traveled markets.  

In general, most larger travel programs look to engage a “primary” car rental brand and a “secondary” brand aimed primarily at achieving a discount level for the “secondary” brand for those travelers who have a loyalty program or other tie to that rental agency. Car rental negotiations are just one part of a travel supplier strategy for most corporate travel programs. 

Top questions to address during the car rental negotiation process:

How can companies negotiate better rates for car rentals?
  • Don’t dilute your negotiations capabilities.  Focus on the markets where volume is significant.
  • Make sure you don’t include ancillary charges that you might not need, such as insurance coverage or pre-paid gasoline.
How does Uber, Lyft or other rideshare options play into this category?
  • Evaluate how prevalent a role rideshare plays in your program.  Is it part of your travel policy?
  • Can you move internal market share to or from a rideshare to a traditional car rental company?  If so, this will have an impact on your rental program.
Does this affect travel policy?
  • Many companies have now included Uber and Lyft as approved vendors. If your company is similar, please keep in mind that Uber and Lyft rides will have an impact on your traditional rental car volumes.
What are some cost savings a company can bolster from a car rental negotiation?
  • The cost savings can vary widely from company to company and is highly dependent not only in terms of volume, but also in terms of city or country where the spend exists.
  • Perhaps as important as cost savings is cost avoidance for ancillary items you may not require, or city surcharges which can be mitigated. Some examples of this would be insurance coverage or pre-paid gasoline.

Why KesselRun

KesselRun brings deep experience to every aspect of your corporate travel program. After 20 years in business, we still believe that every consulting engagement is as unique as our client’s business.

20+ Years in Business
Custom Solutions
Industry Experts
Excellent Client References

Executive Team

Our Executive Team has decades of experience across the entire corporate travel supply chain. We come from both Big 5 management consulting firms and from corporate travel supplier and client sides of the business. We provide flexible, thoughtful, and independent solutions. Our goal is always to increase traveler satisfaction while optimizing corporate spend and supplier leverage.

Brandon Strauss

Brandon Strauss


Michael Brennan

Michael Brennan


Krissy Herman | KesselRun

Krissy Herman

Vice President of Program Management

erik woodfolk

Erik Woodfolk

Director of Federal Programs and Services


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